SDHS 2009 Conference RoundTable
DANCING IN SECOND LIFE: Envisioning Virtual Topographies for Corporeal Interaction:
dance and performance convergent applications of Second Life®
By Isabel Valverde, Yukihiko Yoshida, and Mike Baker
Wishing to contribute to map and analyze the implications of recent dance and performance activity/formats engaging with MUVE/Metaverse Second Life® (avatars and environment), we are organizing a Roundtable, to take place at the SDHS 2009 Annual Conference, “Topographies: Sites, Bodies and Technologies”, at Stanford/S.F., June 20.
We will discuss these issues based in our own work in dance/performance-technology, sharing the idea of Second Life 3D as a novel private-public terrain for creative convergence, rather than separation, of physical-virtual embodied realities. We want to identify and reflect about the proximities as well as differences in our approach to this new work platform. And how the ongoing traversing in-between physical-virtual modes of (posthuman) embodiment and spatial immersion inform and are informed by our theoretical and practice research. The engagement/investment with more accessible embodied networks is thus regarded not as a substitution but an amplification of our physical embodiment and corporeality.
How is this engagement challenging our dance making, interdisciplinary collaboration, as well as subjective and inter-subjective modes of engagement in general, given the increasing influence and importance of choreographing along with designing VR characters and environments? Can VR Movement become an inclusive mode of communication, integrating all others, a signature?
Company in Space (CiS), one of the first companies working with telematics and real-time mocap performance, conceived of dancing with each other through avatars in a shared vr space. When SL® came out in 2003, I envisioned such possibility through an accessible mocap interface immersion. Recently after SL® openness to free download and participation, there has been plenty applications of SL® in performance: as 3D set design (giving depth and illusion to live performance), as avatar performance, as alternative spatialized video presentation of live work, or other hybrid mixed reality forms of performance.
We want to acknowledge that the technology is there, however being developed and applied mostly with functional and economic purposes with a lack of attention and disregard for subjects’ physical health, culture, and creative involvement. Thus, these dance-tech works want to bring other visionary experiences and possibilities towards critically embracing these bodies and environments.
We would like you to participate in the discussion with comments, responses, and or more questions to the ones posed here:
- What are the contributions and challenges posed by dancing in SL?
- How is this practice influencing and affecting the way we embody, perform, and interact?
- What are the theoretical and historical implications of engaging and reflecting about these momentary instances within the fast process through post-human hybridity?
- How can these forms of dance-technology research and critical performance aesthetic approaches to Second Life® bring upon a closer inclusion and raise the stakes of corporeality within HCI development, and might? A new status of corporeality and embodied experience and communication through new modes of inter-subjective bodily knowledge?
- What types of dance performance are going on in SL and where do they happen?
- How does this work relate with previous/other forms, approaches or trends in dance-tech, dance, performance art, media art, dance for the camera?
- Who are the protagonists? What involvement with SL amongst dance-tech community members?
- What led you to involve SL in your work? What are the connections to your previous work (3D, telematics, interfaces, dance forms/techniques, videogames, other)?
- What function/role does the SL avatars and or environment play in your work (concept, development, presentation format, dissemination and discussion, other)?
- Why are dance artists, researchers, and educators including this “platform”? Towards creating and interacting through this multi-user network environment?
- How are we experimenting with this sites and bodies regarding their possibilities and restrictions to dance and corporeality? What aesthetics of mixed embodied communication?
- How is SL included in the work?
a. As virtual set design in live performances
Backdrop or else immersed in space?
b. As performance alternative spatialized documentation
Offering a new kind of presentation and showing formats for previous and ongoing performance work in physical sites.
c. As avatar real time performance
Performances by avatars in a specific location for networked avatar audience, and or projected live to a seated audience.
d. As hybrid or mixed reality performance environments
Performances between physical and avatars participants. The physical site is broadcasted into SL screens through which participants performers and avatars interact.
e. As part of a greater project including avatars and other interfaces
Collaborations involving different domains sharing interdisciplinary concepts, such as HCI development (generation of other types of interfaces), forms of architecture, fashion and other 3D aspects, mixed reality environments, etc.
f. Other ways
- What are the limitations and possibilities of desktop and alternative/beyond (mixed reality) interfaces with virtual bodies/subjects in Multi User Virtual Environments (MUVE) such as Second Life®?
- What is the purpose of dancing with avatars while seating at the desktop?
- Creating new possibilities to dance developing approaches otherwise impossible?
- Dance as intervention through interfacing with virtual bodies and environments?
- What is mapped, tracked, mediated from live bodies or generated to choreograph the virtual bodies/avatars and the media and analog responses? What is coming back to our bodies?
- What are the advantages of body-avatar interfacing through the Nitendo Wii manipulation?
- What and how are other interfaces explored to physically expand our interaction with SL avatars? Real time mocap based on Tag interface (attached or painted to the body)?
- What is the purpose of the mapped relationship between bodies’ position, movement, space, and other environment elements?
- What sort of questioning and reflection relates to SL® avatar choreographed behavior?
- How are works including or challenging VR corporeality typical of SL® and 3d in general?
- How do they change and raise the value of corporeality through avatar representation and movement, already proved unique mode of subjective recognition and signature?
- How can they invert formal and visual dominances, changing perspectives of embodiment?
- How are we engaging through avatar movement and interaction with each other and the environment?
- What are the implications of changes in making work, choreographing through embodying other entities?
- How is this dance involvement with SL applying and challenging the possibilities for creating embodiments and graphical content, the physical interface limitations, or the involvement of a monetary cost to upload own content/data into account or buy/rent space?
- How important and particular is the collaborative and transdisciplinary work? What can and can’t you do by yourself?
- How did you find your collaborators?
- What are the most crucial aspects of collaboration (method, process, commitment, achievements, issues, production)?
- How does collaboration informs the work method and results?
We invite discussion on performance/dance work taking place in Second Life® and combined interfaces. We look forward to gather input from related projects, towards revealing/understanding possible characteristics/differences and current issues, such as, type of protagonists/collaborations, ways of working, content/concepts, formats, media, dance forms, choreographic approach, bodies/type of embodiment, other interfaces, geographic/SL locations, cultural/artistic contexts and networks.
This discussion wants to begin here and move into the SL network, towards an insightful and constructive meeting at SDHS. Second Life® environment and characters will connect the 3 main participants, Isabel Valverde at the conference in California, Yukihiko Yochida in Japan, and Mike Baker in New Zealand. Other attendees in the room or as avatars will be welcome to join. Depending on the responses we will organize the dates to meet in SL.
The RoundTable is at 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm (PWT) and (SLT) on 20th June.
The SLURL adress is Weltec, Koru (203, 224, 3093)
We are meeting every thursday and saturday at 7:00-8:30 pm until June 20.
Looking very forward to discuss,